Rising Stars are FREE

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On February 28th, the IAB unveiled six new brand-friendly display ad units at the Annual Leadership Meeting in Palm Springs, CA. Immediately after unveiling the Portrait, Filmstrip, Billboard, Sidekick, Slider, and Pushdown, Peter Minnium and I started receiving adoption questions: how do I get my hands on them? Is there a waitlist? Are there auditions? How much do they cost to adopt? What’s the IAB usage fee?

The short answer is they are FREE. Many are available now, while a few are under construction and will be ready by the end of May. The Rising Stars competition was born from the IAB’s “Reimagining Interactive Advertising” initiative. Interactive advertising is at risk of staying a direct response mechanism and forever alienating brand marketers. The six Rising Stars are meant to drive branding dollars online by not only providing a larger canvas but also including rich media functionality in standard display ad units.

The IAB brought together publishers, agencies, and rich media vendors to find the Rising Stars, and now it’s up to you to transform the star dust into interactive gold. We need you to be part of a mini-ecosystem of publishers, agencies, rich media vendors, and marketers who are building and testing these units. All six ad units are open source with detailed specs available at www.iab.net/risingstars. We will add tools to this site, such as test ad tags, as they become available over the coming weeks. If you’ve read the specs and you’re still scratching your head, drop us a line and we’ll come visit you and your team.

But wait, there’s more. If brand-friendly ad units that provide a creative canvas for marketers weren’t reason enough, we’ve added extra incentive. Create an innovative interactive advertising campaign using one or more Rising Stars Ad Units and submit it as an entry to this year’s MIXX awards. We are adding a Rising Stars category to the awards and will recognizethe winners during Advertising Week in New York in October.

It’s the best deal in interactive display advertising or your money back.

Gina Kim is Senior Director of Industry Initiatives for the IAB.

Peter Minnium is Consulting Director for the IAB.